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Day Called X, A (Part I)

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Day Called X, A (Part I)

Publication date ca. 1955
Digitizing sponsor N/A
Dramatized atomic evacuation of Portland, Oregon.


Documents the well-oiled atomic evacuation plan of Portland, Oregon, in the heyday of nuclear preparedness. Nothing to fear here!

00:28:69 AS (aerial shot) of radio tower with Ôspace noiseÕ soundtrack
00:32:82 XLS from interior of tower to cars coming down a road
00:41:02 LS man getting out of 1950s car goes into military bunker/building
00:52:20 MS surveillance monitor of two men walking briskly
00:56:11 LS two men hurriedly walking into large office
01:02:40 MS two men walking one after another through ÔpoliceÕ office look seriously into camera
01:17:50 CU man talking to home TV audience about the occurrence of an ÔH-bomb attackÕ then title ÔAn attack is not taking placeÕ appears on screen
01:50:76 MS narrator (Glenn Ford) TO CU
02:22:15 XLS pan of Portland, Oregon landscape
02:45:85 AS aerial view of Portland
02:57:00 LS of boy on bike silhouetted against Portland landscape
03:04:67 MS smiling boy riding bike (not shown) with newspaper in hand
03:12:50 LS paperboy on bike with nice shot of his shadow
03:15:43 LS paperboy on bike throws newspaper to house
03: 18 :07 MS newspaper headline: ÒWorld is Shaken by CrisisÓ
03:20:38 LS woman picking up paper from doorstep
03:27:04 MS woman saying: ÓJohn you better get up, youÕll be late for schoolÓ -- non-synch sound
03:33:31 CU coffee pot on stove
03:35:80 MS woman reading ÒThe OregonianÓ newspaper with ÒWorld is Shaken By CrisisÓ headline
03:38:38 MS three children having breakfast, woman(out of frame) reading newspaper
03:44:44 CU radio
03:47:98 CU manÕs face, heÕs saying: Ò...8:27, wake up Portland itÕs a wonderful day todayÓ
03:51:93 MS radio announcer at microphone, ÔKOINÕ on mic
04:09:84 CU doctor in mask
04:11:44 MS woman with child and three people in masks around her
04:15:75 XLS church congregation
04:21:80 MS church goers singing
04:32:05 MS two men guiding crane bucket of scrap iron
04:35:80 MS man in hard hat directing with hands
04:38:80 LS crane with bucket loaded onto ship
04:44:82 MSLS firemen cleaning trucks TO same shot further back inside fire station
04:55:89 CU childÕs painting, pull away to LS of classroom, children playing duck, duck, goose
05:11:33 MS beautiful panning shot of children sitting on floor
05:22:89 CU 1950Õs man speaking into microphone
05:28:40 LS three men sitting at state house, microphone
05:36:80 MLS two men behind communications board of police station TO CU of man saying: Ò126 Schenectady, cat in a treeÓ TO VS of men and reactions to radio announcement of an Òsir raid...enemy over the AleutiansÓ
06:07:67 CU gavel hitting block
07:08:18 MS Mayor Terry D. Schrunk
07:24:22 LS City Hall people getting up to leave
07:28:15 CU hand pressing ÔevacuationÕ button on Ôcivil defenseÕ alarm system
07:31:78 CU zoom in on siren speaker revolving atop tower
07:38:90 CU man in hard hat smoking cigarette, looks up suddenly (nice shot)
07:44:50 CU alarm bell
07:46:50 MS firemen sliding down pole (great shot)
07:53:31 XLS fire station, men running to trucks, exit station
08:07:73 LS policeman coming down spiral staircase TO LS inside station at bottom of the stairs
08:19:56 LS outside police station, police car coming out of garage
08:27:65 CU man on ground TOLS man (mechanic) under car
08:37:09 CU double speaker alarm
08:40:02 CU man reaction turns head TO LS electricity control room, man on phone TO XLS of control room with voice over: ÒThese men are expendableÓ
08:50:10 XLS large office, people clearing out
08:54:33 MS office people exiting
09:05:49 CU two children and teacher (four separate shots) looking nervously
09:14:65 MS children at table with toys (Mickey Mouse), children get up and leave, Mickey falls after standing on its own for a moment--nice
09:17:96 LS classroom evacuated
09:22:29 CU Mickey Mouse on the floor
09:46:85 CU woman, childÕs portrait picture in background
09:50:85 MLS coffee shop counter, people orderly exit
10:06:29 LS people exiting shopping center
10:10:71 MS woman at bank counter with woman teller TO people exiting bank
10:19:35 LS two men closing bank safe, lock says on it: ÔThe Mosler Safe Co., Hamilton, OhioÕ
10:26:87 LS outside hospital, evacuating patients TO MS of same TO MCU of same
10:46:31 MS students leaving school TO LS of same
10:55:93 LS bicycles and children TO ground level shot of same--nice
11:07:38 LS two men high up working amongst telephone/electrical wires
11:12:09 LS road crew
11:18:20 MS longshoreman turning large wheel valve--nice TO CU of the same
11:24:47 MS man in hard hat looking up at electrical transformer
11:26:16 LS pan down building to street, people crossing at walk
11:32:89 MCU people exiting building, men in hard hats
11:35:75 LS above people crossing street
11:38:91 XLS parking lot with 1950Õs cars TO CU cars
11:44:82 CU foot traffic--very nice
11:49:27 MS street with arrows
11:54:85 LS suburban house, woman and three children leaving with packages TO nice shot MS of family getting into car
12:08:18 MS two women on stretcher with CU people passing by TO LS flatbed truck pulling up
12:17:24 MS woman on stretcher being loaded into flatbed TO two shots of hospital evacuations
12:40:82 LS TO MS of two motorcycle cops and cop car driving down rural road
12:51:10 LS of two motorcycle cops and cop car driving into radar bunker (from begining of film)
13:05:98 MS surveillance camera with voice over: ÒGovernment must survive if people are to surviveÓ
13:08:58 LS two men walk briskly around corner TO MS of surveillance monitor
13:15:10 LS above bunker operations with voice over: ÒCivil defense is government operating in an emergencyÓ
13:20:53 MS man greets ÒMister MayorÓ, continues: Òthe situation looks pretty bad right now, we donÕt know exactly whatÕs happening nowÓ TO Òplanes over Alaska and CanadaÓ; MS above men in bunker room
13:29:00 CU bald man with glasses and woman with voice over: ÒLadies and Gentlemen ...youÕve heard...Ó
13:33:44 CU three men looking at camera with voice over Ò...the reports that `enemy planes are appproachingÓ
13:35:51 CU mayor of Portland announcing: ÒIn less than three hours an H-bomb might fall over PortlandÓ with the title over: ÒAn Attack Is Not Taking PlaceÓ
13:40:35 MS mayor at microphone and ÒMister Jack LowellÓ
14:42:50 MLS above man writing on wall chair, man looks on, woman secretaries bring reports
14:51:71 LS man charting wall
14:55:90 LS man at microphone and man in radio booth signals to go on air
14:58:09 CU two military clocks on wall with signs and lights indicating ÔEvacuation in ProgressÕ (9:10) and ÔTake CoverÕ (5:10)
15:02:00 CU man radio announcer gives emergency
15:20:64 CU 1950s car radio and hand
15:23:80 CU man in car with furrowed brow driving
15:32:71 MS view from over the shoulder of driver
15:40:20 MS trafffic light with voice over: Òfollow the green lightÓ
15:42:36 MS view from car with voice over: ÒJohn Carpenter, a sports caster becomes the warning voice...Ó
15:53:00 LS downtown Portland with voice over ÒIn 1955 Portland held a practice mass evacuationÓ
16:00:67 CU woman and three children in car driving
16:13:87 LS bridge leaving city with traffic TO nice shot from bridge TO VS traffic
16:29:89 LS of traffic and police helicopter approaching
16:35:25 LS police copter approaching
16:40:15 AS aerial shot above highway
16:52:69 MS policeman talking to dispatcher from helicopter
17:07:45 LS of table of cops at police station
17:27:80 CU traffic cop directing traffic
17:37:22 MS cop directing traffic
17:39:47 CU car license plate reads: Ô57 WashingtonÕ TO LS cop diverting traffic,
stopped car is an Edsel
17:47:80 VS of evacuation route for trucks and servicemen and equipment
18:24:35 CU man in white military style hat speaking into mic TO VS men preparing for blast
18:52:31 CU ÔRed Cross Mass Feeding UnitÕ truck TO VS unloading truck
19:03:80 CU woman--Red Cross worker
19:09:25 VS maps with military markings
19:41:89 CU old man smoking cigar
19:54:62 MS man at map with slide rule graphing, turns around
20:08:42 CU man says; ÒLetÕs face it gentlemen if we have a blast on Portland it will be hours...Ó TO VS of men giving reports from fire, police, city engineer, et cetera
22:03:55 same, with voice over about Portland passing a $1 Million tax initiative in 1952
22:56:13 CU man with shades gives report of school children evacuation
23:09:76 LS two men tracking wall map from ladder
23:30:50 LS two men in radio room woman brings a messge
23:46:90 MS pan of woman phone operators
24:00:22 LS pan of microfilm room TO two shots MS and CU of woman at microfilm reader
24:17:13 MS woman at mail sorting machine
24:25:30 MLS soup kitchen (two shots)
24:38:09 CU woman drinking coffee and smoking cigarette
24:50:80 LS man alone in room full of cots
25:05:04 CU mannequin head--nice TO VS empty store fronts
25:15:53 LS mainstreet Portland, two motorcycle cops ride down street
25:48:64 CU sign: ÔTake CoverÕ and flashing light bulb
25:50:16 CU military clocks and ÔTake CoverÕ and ÔEvacuation in ProgressÕ
26:08:70 CU many reaction shots of people in police uniforms, secretaries , operators, et cetera with voice over narration of Glenn Ford



Reviewer: kenmay139 - favoritefavoritefavorite - May 28, 2014
Subject: Fear is more effective than force
It's easier to control people using fear than with force. The brutal ancient theocracies of Egypt, Mexico, etc., did not have the capacity to exploit large populations by exercising only violence; they had to make the average person afraid to resist by claiming to possess supernatural powers.
The same fraudulent system exists today except the present-day pseudo-scientific establishment claims to have vast technological powers instead of supernatural: Do what we tell you because we are the only force that can protect you from the nuclear boogeyman... THE BIG BAD SCARY BOMB!
Stop being so gullible. It's all a giant hoax meant to enslave you. If atomic bombs could be built using 1940s technology, by now, 60 years later, in the 21st century, every country in the world would have them.
The fact that there has not been a "nuclear attack" since 1945 proves that they don't work and that THE BOMB is indeed one of the biggest scams of all time.
Don't believe it's possible to bamboozle millions of people into believing in farfetched claims? What about all the many different fantastical religions today and throughout history, religions with millions of fervent adherents? Are all these religions true or have millions and even billions been deceived by the liars and criminals who rule over them?
Google: a-bomb kid
Google: This experiment proved that anyone could design a nuclear weapon
Reviewer: Shadows_Girl - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - May 25, 2013
Subject: "Nothing to Fear."
Well, actually, there was quite a lot to fear even from the Atomic Bomb (which one of the reviewers derides) as well as from the Hydrogen Bomb.

The Atomic Bombs dropped at Hiroshima and Nagasaki (called "minor" by today's standards) have continued to kill people right through today thanks to the radiation poisoning they suffered as children. Various types of Cancer and other diseases are symptoms of that and fatal.

The Hydrogen Bomb would just vaporize the whole city and everyone in it or anywhere near it. As to the effects of fall-out...a safe distance is hard to calculate. I'd recommend New Zealand.

When I was in school we had that whole "duck and cover" routine which is what they told us to do as soon as we saw the flash of a nuclear explosion. Other than putting you in the perfect position for kissing your ass goodbye it would have been futile. If the bomb didn't get you, the roof falling on you very likely would.

And if that didn't the fall-out would kill you.

If you're at or anywhere near ground zero when one of these goes off you won't survive to "defend" anything.
Reviewer: radioralphie - - October 5, 2012
Subject: HabboX - I'd like to record an interview with the person you spoke to
Hey HabboX, I am working on a short documentary project film for a contest (info about that here: )

If you are able to connect me with the person you know who saw "A Day Called X" when it first aired, I would like to record a brief interview with them.

I can be reached at - thanks
Reviewer: ERD. - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - December 18, 2008
Subject: DAY CALLED X, Powerful for its day (Part 1 & 2)
(Part 1 & 2 make up the complete film)
Made in 1958 by CBS, this Civil Defense film made in Portland, Oregon was hosted by actor Glenn Ford. Somewhat naive when compared to today, it must have been effective for the viewers of that generation. Historically, it is very interesting.
Reviewer: tazcatsdad - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - March 28, 2007
Subject: Interesting ...
I've watched this several times ... it's quite a fascinating program! Although I doubt that if I were around when this program originally aired I'd have felt this way.

There's something I noticed, however, while watching it that rather perplexes me. I looked up KOIN-AM on Google (and by the way, for those not living in Portland the station's now known by another name), and found out that it broadcast at 970 on the AM dial. This is what gets me: if you look closely at the setting of the dial on the radio (a very nice Arvin model ... perhaps an early transistor one) it appears to be tuned somewhere around 570 kHz and not 970 kHz. What's up with that?
Reviewer: katurner - favoritefavoritefavorite - September 13, 2005
Subject: Very nice job by CBS/DCPA
I saw this several times and I still don't see how CBS managed to snag Glenn Ford. Never today will Hollywood wiggle onto the small screen for a documentary.

This was a well-done, no-political bias documentary. I do wonder why they had a Foley editor (man/woman who makes noise for soundtracks)dub the sound of another air raid siren when the big Chrysler Victory Sirens whirled and whined? Visit to hear what one really sounds like.

Aside from the nitpicking I am impressed. We could've used Portland's mayor in Hurricane Katrina!
Reviewer: Logoliker2004 - favoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - June 12, 2005
Subject: Very unnerving...
Gee, if I was a kid in the 1957-1958 period (that's the estimated time this TV special was originally presented), I wouldn't like this happening in my area! The main part of this film is a HUGE air-raid siren BLARING LOUDLY throughout town. Also I find the "An Attack Is Not Taking Place" disclaimer a bit humorous.

Also, I happen to know that H-bombs (hydrogen bombs) are more powerful than A-bombs. I bet with a huge flash and KABOOM! they can take down a whole city. The idea does give me chills, but I am glad the only bombs that were "dropped" here in America were only when we were testing the bombs in deserts and such.

But, I can see why they'd need to evacuate the city of Portland. In other Civil Defense films (such as "Our Cities Must Fight") they talk about you should STAY in the town and fight back. But that's because those were the days of the A-bomb, BEFORE the deadly H-bomb was introduced.

And another thing, it may be interesting to know the wailing alarm used in this program is one of those Chrysler air raid sirens, probably the most powerful and loudest, ear-shattering air raid sirens EVER! This is all according to research of this webpage I found.

I think I should email the owner of the site and tell him about this film.

Overall, a dramatic suspense-filled TV special, sure to keep you at the edge of your seat!
Reviewer: Steve Nordby - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - July 8, 2004
Subject: "There are no actors in this story!"
What if everything in the world went perfect and according to plan, but still the Russians flew some slow moving bombers toward the USA? No problem! They've got hours to move 400,000 people, and of course they will be safe if we just move them a few miles from downtown. No cars or trucks will break down and block traffic. All the children will behave like angels. Those hospitalized can easily be transported in moving vans. No one will panic. The police will gladly stay on their downtown assignments. No communications breakdowns will occur. And the existing city authorities have made plans to keep the power structure intact so they can rule after the worst happens. This fantasyland brought to you by CBS News.
Reviewer: Spuzz - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - April 15, 2003
Subject: Oh Glenn!
Glenn Ford narrates this excellently paced film about the possible nuke-u-lar attack on Portland Oregon. Well thought out pace and narration add to the mounting tension to this film to great effect. The film stars the 'people of Portland' who are all coming from the 'One Note School Of Acting' where they are taught to act in one expression only, and that's boredom. Why are people so glum? Even before the attack. the people look bored out of their mind! (insert Portland Joke here). By the way, there's a huge cheat that happens in the film....
Reviewer: HabboX - favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite - October 27, 2002
Subject: Homeland Defense
The Prelinger Archives dates this film to about 1955. It was probably made about 1958 or 1959. The narrator, Glenn Ford, mentions artificial satellites. Sputnik was launched in October 1957. The film also does not use actors but rather actual citizens or Portland. The Mayor, Terry D. Schrunk didn't become the Mayor of Portland until 1957.

"AN ATTACK IS NOT TAKING PLACE" I love this disclaimer. I'm sure there was a lot of talk at CBS about making a 'reality-based' program such as this. Before television the CBS network had a lot of publicity problems when "War of the Worlds" aired on the radio, creating fears of an alien invasion.

I believe that in 1959 the Director of the CIA toured television stations across the nation in a campaign to increase awareness of the threat of Communism. It is likely that this film was shown by CBS affiliates during that year.

The film is very good and definitely is educational in that it is an example of how Civil Defense was supposed to work. Today we have Homeland Security which can be compared to the Civil Defense of the 1950's and 1960's.

There is an example of the Conelrad Radio Alert. You might recall that AM radios had hash marks on the dial at 640 and 1240 kHz so that you could quickly tune your radio to hear Civil Defense information.

To a young person watching this film today it might seem amusing. However, I spoke to a person that vividly recalls watching this, as a child, when it originally aired. He says that it was very frightening and gave him nightmares.

This is a very skillfully directed film. Read the timeline notes for details on certain camera shots designed to evoke emotion from the viewer. I would recommend this film for its Historical significance.
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